LinkedIn Endorsements and How to Turn That Shit Off

how to remove_linkedin_endorsementsSome of the folks reading this blog have endorsed me on LinkedIn. This is automatically going to turn me into an ass monkey in someone’s eyes. Fine. I’m an ass monkey.

But I’m an ass monkey that wants you to stop using LinkedIn Endorsements. For. Fuck’s. Sake.

**Note: the language doesn’t get any cleaner from here on out. You’ve been warned.**

First, I’m going to talk about why LinkedIn Endorsements are about as meaningful as having Paris Hilton teach etiquette classes to pre-teen girls. Once I’m done spouting off, I’m going to teach you how to turn them off. You already know how I feel about unqualified connection requests (and apparently, most of you feel the same way).

The Idiocy of LinkedIn Endorsements

Here’s the bottom line about LinkedIn Endorsements: who cares? I know they’re bullshit. You should know they’re bullshit. If you don’t know that they’re bullshit, let’s define why they’re bullshit once and for all.

There are many reasons to connect with people on LinkedIn. Not all of those connections will be people who have direct knowledge or experience as to what’s it’s like to work with you.

The only “barrier to entry” for offering a LinkedIn endorsement is being someone’s connection on the LinkedIn platform. Now, I’m sure that the passengers on the Titanic would not be endorsing Edward Smith for his sea captaining skills. Did they directly work with Smith? No, but I do feel they’re likely a good judge of his experience. But he’s dead. Just like 1,502 passengers on the ship. But that still leaves roughly 700 people who could likely vouch for the fact that Smith missed a giant chunk of ice in the Atlantic martini.

Which brings me to another round of WHO FUCKING CARES?! When the barrier to entry on a LinkedIn Endorsement is only that someone’s clicked a button to acknowledge that they accept a connection, who the hell is giving any credence to Endorsements?

Here’s a snapshot of my Endorsements on LinkedIn:

how to turn off linkedin endorsements

Now, the only endorsement I really give a rat’s ass about is the one highlighted in red. Guess what? I created that category myself, fully embracing the sheer idiocy of LinkedIn endorsements and figured to hell with it. If people are going to offer me an endorsement on a skill and they’ve never met me, by gawdalmighty, here’s one they can click with fucking certainty.

Blogging? Thank you. After nearly 700 posts since 2006, I hope I know what I’m doing. But then again, shouldn’t other people be the judge of that when they stop by my blog?

Online Advertising? I really know fuckall about this. Facebook ads, their promoted posts, and a deep interest in LinkedIn advertising are the extent of it, I’m afraid.

Published Author? Yes, I am. Twice. But then again, so is this guy. Now you can see how useful broad categories like this are. Kill me now.

It all comes down to an ego-centric circle jerk. Every time I see a fresh Endorsement notification, I feel like the girl who got invited to a random “no, no, I swear it’s NOT an orgy” party and I get stuck hiding in the corner behind a ficus for the entire evening because my ride is involved in a kind of sandwich they don’t sell at Subway.

I’m leaving the Endorsements party. It’s creepy and I didn’t ask to be here. Maybe you’re ready to leave, too.

Let’s carpool.

Now — how do we get these fuckers off our LinkedIn profiles?

How to Remove Endorsements from Your LinkedIn Profile (or disable them completely)

Removing Endorsements from your LinkedIn profile is so damn easy that I feel like a chump for not figuring it out on my own. A big hat tip goes out to my friend Rich Mackey for giving me the gist so I could share this illustrated guide with you.

Step 1: Click on Edit Profile

how to removed linkedin endorsements


Step #2: Scroll down to Skills & Expertise (cough) and click the EDIT pencil icon

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 9.12.14 PM

Step #3: Opt to hide Endorsements in 3 simple steps.

removed linkedin endorsements from profile

You’re done. All that will show are skills that YOU choose to have displayed on your profile for search purposes or whatnot.

People can no longer offer their nonsensical “vouchings”. And you, my friends, are now free of those useless notifications that someone’s endorsed you.

Want real endorsements? Ask your customers and clients for testimonials. Put them on your website. Make them easy to find and make sure they depict the work you do and how your clients feel when you do it for them. LinkedIn isn’t the only game in town when it comes to building a credible portfolio for your brand of awesome. Stop letting others — the platforms and the people — define how others see you.

That’s your domain, friend. Take it back and make the rules.

51 replies
  1. MOALee
    MOALee says:

    Awesome, thanks for this. I removed my skills list but am thinking of re-adding with a custom list of skills (much like your dropping the F-Bomb) to see if anyone agrees with me.

  2. bookgirl2
    bookgirl2 says:

    I love it, but I am too chicken to let go of the Endorsements. The fact is that most of the Hiring Gods are not far-sighted enough to share your idea that the Endorsements are bullshit, but rather take them as a page of gospel.

    • lizctaylor
      lizctaylor says:

      bookgirl2 I think a handful of well-written recommendations on LinkedIn would be more impressive to a potential employer than a hundred endorsements. If I am hiring someone tomorrow, I’m not going to pay much attention to endorsements at all.

      • Erika Napoletano
        Erika Napoletano says:

        lizctaylor bookgirl2 Agreed. If you focus on top-notch Recommendations, I don’t see how not having Endorsements could hurt your job search. Even recruiters know they’re bullshit.
        And seriously — would you want to work for a company that would base a hiring decision on endorsements that can be made by people who don’t even know you? Ugh.
        You can still create Skills, which are entirely searchable. And why not craft an intro to your profile that explains that potential employers can find a selection of earnest Recommendations offered from people who have truly worked with you, which is why you opted to turn off Endorsements?

  3. AssistantNikki
    AssistantNikki says:

    I was sitting in Starbucks a few months back and a man sitting next to me (who I was eavesdropping on because I thought he was a genius) said, “The new LinkedIn endorsement format is BULLSHIT and the ONLY reason they did this is because people are too lazy to write sentences anymore. Thinks like Twitter and 140 characters have dumbed us down, so we’d rather just point and click instead write something meaningful.” That sums it up. Not that I don’t like and appreciate the people who take time out of their busy schedule to stop by my LI profile because we are connected, after all, and click on some button in an attempt to make me “look good” but the truth is, as a Chief “Get Shit Done” Officer, the people I actually Get Shit Done for couldn’t possibly care less about these endorsements. Hell, they don’t have time to read a 3 sentence recommendation. They just want me to get shit done. LOL!

  4. spacebarpress
    spacebarpress says:

    THANK YOU! I’ve been wondering how to stop the madness with these things, but never stopped to figure it out. I wholeheartedly agree with you on them too Erika. I keep getting endorsements from people I vaguely know, and never understood how they could make a comment on a skill or expertise. Now a recommendation is a different story, as that typically comes from someone I DO know, or HAVE worked with in some capacity. Ditto on testimonials. 🙂

  5. mikelking
    mikelking says:

    While I am not a huge fan of the vapid endorsements floating around thanks to LinkedIn, I am not about to turn off the free advertising. As irrelevant as they are the have the effect of bouncing you into the content stream which is not a totally bad thing. For instance if someone takes the time to endorse me in say WordPress or Beer Brewing then they are telling their circle of associates that I am some one that they value in this area because it shows up in their and your update streams.

    However, that sums up the intrinsic value of the endorsement, and is no where as impactful as a true recommendation. In fact it is kind of like a recommendation-lite a.k.a. the equivalent of a Facebook ‘like.’
    Ultimately, anything that helps people connect me with a specific technology or beer is usually good.
    In either case I do appreciate this and do not think you are an Ass Monkey… it the notices can feel like static…

    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      mikelking See, that’s precisely why I turn them off — they’re static. And as someone who pays no attention to Endorsements since I don’t place any value in who can offer them, I’m not looking for static. But, use them as you will — I can’t recall earning a single client from someone who said, “Hey, I caught that so-and-so endorsed you for branding.” My best business (and most of my business) comes from direct referral. Tomato/tomato, I suppose 🙂

  6. KateKunkel1
    KateKunkel1 says:

    Thanks, Erika, for this. Endorsements turned off…
    I always felt that the only reason people would “endorse me” when they barely know me, is to get their own names linked to mine and therefore get free advertising. Not that I have any great following, but it just seems so wrong to me. What does some guy I met once in a networking group know about my vibroacoustic therapy skills??? Does he even know what vibroacoustic therapy is?  I’ll bet not.

  7. Annie Sisk
    Annie Sisk says:

    OK. I’m going to screw up my courage and — disagree. (Gulp.) To an extent. (That’s better.) I agree that these endorsements have little meaning or relevance to most folks. I agree wholeheartedly and enthusiastically that real testimonials from actual clients are FAR more valuable – no question. But don’t we tell folks that inbound content-based marketing is the way to go? Don’t we encourage them to blog and publish relevant, helpful, valuable content  on their sites for their ideal clients/customers? Don’t we do that in part because it helps them become seen as experts in their relative fields? I think I *can* judge that you’re awesome at blogging, and at social media, because I read your blog, I see your social media interactions, and I know you know your shit. Maybe that’s worth less than a client testimonial but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless necessarily. My two cents, YMMV, etc.

    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      Annie Sisk Everyone will have their own opinions about this, but I hate Endorsements and think they’re useless. Most of the people offering endorsements — especially in my case — have never worked with me. It’s filled my stream up with useless clutter. And there are better ways to be recognized as an expert in a field than through LinkedIn’s parameters, I feel.
      But hey — keep ’em if you like ’em. Me? I don’t see the value due to the low barrier to entry and lack of context.
      And Annie — no courage-screwing required to disagree. Your thoughts are always welcome here 🙂

    • AssistantNikki
      AssistantNikki says:

      Annie Sisk I think that you have a valid point on the basis that “nothing is absolute.” It’s not that LI endorsements are worthless to EVERYBODY. There is probably going to be Client Joe or Client Jane that looks at a LI profile and sees 552 endorsements for everything under the sun and decides that they want to do business with that person. There are people out there like that. 
      I think it’s all about knowing your audience. Like I said previously, my audience doesn’t care, so it would make sense to me to turn it off. Hell, my ideal clients may NEVER even look at my LI profile at all. Some people need the “social proof” before they work with a person and a lot of it is completely arbitrary. 
      Other people prefer more solid stuff.

  8. Lauren Tharp
    Lauren Tharp says:

    Done and done! *dusts off hands* What’s next?
    Thank you for sharing how to do this. Hopefully we can all start getting REAL testimonials soon!
    I worked my butt off for a year and a half–daily!–for the same person… When the project ended she gave her “testimonial” in the form of clicking one (just one!) of the endorsement buttons. Ugh. Heartbreaking.

    • Erika Napoletano
      Erika Napoletano says:

      Lauren Tharp Oy vey. Well, I sit down once a month and think, “Who did I really enjoy working with this month?” Then I email a testimonial request. Ka-POW! Slowly but surely, they build right up 🙂

      • Lauren Tharp
        Lauren Tharp says:

        Erika Napoletano That’s a fantastic suggestion. I’m going to have to start doing that. I’m slowly but surely getting over my fear of “bugging” people for the things I want/need. Baby steps!
        And definitely an “oy vey” moment. She wasn’t one of my *ahem* better clients, but I kept hanging in there thinking “Well, at least I’m going to get a great testimonial out of this!” HAHAHA! Live and learn!

  9. ecoofficegals
    ecoofficegals says:

    Oh I love you! As much as I love to see people endorse me for things I know nothing about – things I never even thought to learn – I love you more for never having to endure feeling stupid – because I’ve been yet again reminded that there is so much out there I know nothing about – regardless if I have fooled people into thinking I am an expert in said field!

  10. GeoffMacDonald
    GeoffMacDonald says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Thanks for writing about this and letting me know I wasn’t alone thinking how stupid these endorsements were. Never realized I could turn them off so thanks for the visual “how to”.Love your stuff, keep up the great work!

  11. 3HatsComm
    3HatsComm says:

    My first reaction to these was to respond in kind – then I immediately knee-jerked ‘no this is more K bullshit but worse.’ (Skipping Klout ramble; still haven’t made up my mind.) I’d just shared a post the other day on how to hide them – b/c I hadn’t quite figured out what I wanted to do: hide, delete, opt out entirely (if that’s possible). Love reading these comments – esp. those on the other side which voice some of my own 2nd thoughts. Like mikelking I’m like it’s free advertising and some people buy into these vanity metrics crap. Maybe for now I’ll edit – and per your trick – create some custom ones like ‘inscrutable acronyms’ and ‘WTH?! blog comments’ and see what happens. FWIW.

  12. sridhar9
    sridhar9 says:

    Erika – I believe there is no way to restrict “Endorsements” on Linked IN. What you probably did was just turn off notifications when people endorse you.
    Here is a FAQ from Linked in:
    Opting Out of Endorsements

    Can I completely opt out of endorsements?

    Last Reviewed:

    Currently, there is no way to completely opt out of endorsements. You may your connections have given you and from anyone you do not wish to receive endorsements from.
    Learn about

  13. scwhissell
    scwhissell says:

    OH MY MANY GODS AND GOSHES – Thank you! One of my top endorsements, every freaking week, is something I don’t do, have never done, and have no interest in doing. I don’t know why people think I have experience in it. I’m so tired of deleting the same thing, while what I actually do languishes. 
    Begone, pointless endorsements. I will SHOW you what I’m good at, given half a chance. Anyway. Thank you – that’s one less annoyance in my life. Can you do anything about the 21 year old ‘kid’ on my couch? 😉

  14. KevinMurphy1
    KevinMurphy1 says:

    Do you have to have a business account to remove the endorsements that way….I can not find the same menus in my basic account…

  15. bethjelam
    bethjelam says:

    Thanks you SO MUCH. I keep getting endorsed for the same “skill” which is from a job I hated over 5 years ago and really don’t want to do again… I think people just click on it as it’s the most endorsed skill and most people don’t actually know what I do now.

  16. Anthony Carrabino
    Anthony Carrabino says:

    Linkedin absolutely destroyed the value of their referral system when they started making/encouraging people to give away referrals as if they were giving away free candy. They watered down the value of referrals to beyond useless, so now referrals are basically worthless. Then to add insult to injury, they took it one step further and prompted all of our contacts to endorse randomly generated skills based on our profiles. That’s when Linkedin jumped the shark. Seriously. People pour countless hours, days, weeks, years deciding what is important to promote and share about themselves, and Linkedin turned that careful planning into crap. Now, we have endorsements for meaningless skills being promoted on our profiles. That’s not so bad because you can delete them, however, don’t forget, every time an endorsement request was shown to a friend, that was essentially a “favor” being consumed on some made up “skill” that we don’t even care about. Asking for referrals is a BIG deal … it should not be a casual request, and it should definitely not happen randomly and for random skills. It’s beyond comprehension how this feature came to be. Linked In totally lost their way.


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